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Black Friday FBI Gun Background Checks Nearly Set Record

The FBI handled more than 200,000 background checks on Black Friday gun purchases, continuing a steady surge after a series of mass shootings that have renewed calls for more restrictive gun laws, reports USA Today.

The bureau made 202,465 checks Friday, an 11 percent increase from last year. The total fell just short of the single-day record: 203,086 in 2017. Background checks, which are required for purchases from federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales, but the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is a way to gauge market demand.

The number of firearms sold Friday is higher than the stated total because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single buyer.

Black Friday traditionally has been one of the busiest for FBI analysts. This year’s one-day number comes amid rising monthly volumes that are approaching the one-year record of 27.5 million in 2016.

Some of the biggest spikes occurred in August and September after attacks in El Paso and Odessa, Tx., and Dayton, Oh., that left 38 people dead. Past spikes in background checks have been driven by fears that legislators would tighten gun laws.

For the first time since the bureau began conducting checks in 1998, the number of monthly checks has not fallen below 2 million this year. The rising numbers suggest that the industry may be emerging from the “Trump slump” that followed the election of the pro-gun Donald Trump.